TechSpot: Asus Transformer T100 review: Windows 8.1 dockable tablet for less than $500

Windows is still relatively new to the tablet market, with the launch of Windows 8 occurring just a little over a year ago. But that doesn’t mean the market isn’t filled with options for consumers, ranging from ARM-based Windows RT options such as the Microsoft Surface 2 and Nokia Lumia 2520, to full-blown Windows 8.1 convertibles and hybrids.

High-end tablets tend to capture a lot of attention from the press thanks to their fancy features and top-tier hardware, but sometimes the entry-level products can be the most interesting. The device I’m looking at today is one such entry-level product, the Asus Transformer Book T100, which consists of a 10-inch tablet, Intel ‘Bay Trail’ internals, and a keyboard dock all for under $500. The Transformer line of products has typically been quite solid, so it’ll be interesting to see how an affordable Windows-based model fares.

The 10-inch Windows convertible market is quite crowded, so how will the T100 stand out? Are the tablet’s trade-offs too much for the asking price?

Read: Asus Transformer Book T100 review

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Thanks. Just looking for a cheap device to use in the garage while I'm working on the Shelby and Cobra. How well does it handle videos? Something like an HD YouTube video.

It's got a quad-core Baytrail processor running at 1.33 ghz, turbo at 1.86. It plays HD video's juuuuuust fine, though 1080 is a bit of a waste of time unless you're outputting through the HDMI port as it's 1366x768 display.

FloatingFatMan said,
It's got a quad-core Baytrail processor running at 1.33 ghz, turbo at 1.86. It plays HD video's juuuuuust fine, though 1080 is a bit of a waste of time unless you're outputting through the HDMI port as it's 1366x768 display.
Thank you for the input. I have a TV in the garage, so this would be connected via HDMI while I work.

FloatingFatMan said,
It's got a quad-core Baytrail processor running at 1.33 ghz, turbo at 1.86. It plays HD video's juuuuuust fine, though 1080 is a bit of a waste of time unless you're outputting through the HDMI port as it's 1366x768 display.

In other words, you're better off with the Surface 2 or Lumia. Same performance, better hardware, way better 1080p screen, and better battery life.

Yes the Asus one can run x86 desktop apps, but would you really do that on this sort of device anyway? I've never once missed a desktop app on my Surface. So that gets my recommendation.

Brandon Live said,

In other words, you're better off with the Surface 2 or Lumia. Same performance, better hardware, way better 1080p screen, and better battery life.

Yes the Asus one can run x86 desktop apps, but would you really do that on this sort of device anyway? I've never once missed a desktop app on my Surface. So that gets my recommendation.

Reviews are saying the T100 gets 11 hours battery life, the Surface 2 appears to get around 10, so your not going to be any worse off in that regard.

The processor in the T100 is supposed to perform better than the one in the Surface 2, however the Surface 2 has a slightly better GPU.

The Surface does have a better screen, however that wouldn't be a deal breaker for me having seen them both side by side.

I guess it depends what suits your needs better, for me anyway i wouldn't say for Surface 2 is worth the extra cost. The T100 does more and costs less.

Brandon Live said,

In other words, you're better off with the Surface 2 or Lumia. Same performance, better hardware, way better 1080p screen, and better battery life.

Yes the Asus one can run x86 desktop apps, but would you really do that on this sort of device anyway? I've never once missed a desktop app on my Surface. So that gets my recommendation.

Battery life is slightly better on the T100.

Your other points have some relevance, but it really does depend on your needs at the end of the day. For me, RT just doesn't cut it. If I'm going to do without x86 compatibility, then I might as well use one of my Android tabs, which have a far better selection of tablet orientated apps than RT does, cost a hell of a lot less, and have just as good hardware specs.

Bear in mind that the T100 is sold as full notebook, not a tablet. Being able to convert to a tablet is just a nice bonus.

Brandon Live said,

In other words, you're better off with the Surface 2 or Lumia. Same performance, better hardware, way better 1080p screen, and better battery life.

Yes the Asus one can run x86 desktop apps, but would you really do that on this sort of device anyway? I've never once missed a desktop app on my Surface. So that gets my recommendation.


Having owned both a Surface 2 and now a T100, I can say I use the T100 much more than I used the Surface 2. I'm even using it more than my Nexus 10 and Nexus 7.
Yes, the screen is a lower resolution, but I rarely notice when watching videos (MKV, Hi10, multiple audio streams, multiple subtitle streams. Try doing that on RT...), playing games, browsing the web or using Office. I've also been getting up to 12 hours straight of battery life out of mine (battery is a little screwed, runs for another hour after it reaches 0%...).

My only gripe with the T100 would be the wifi. It's terribad, even when using the older drivers. I pretty much have to use a wifi dongle to get a stable connection.
However, wifi has always been an Asus bugbear. It's also not all plain sailing on the Microsoft devices either.

FloatingFatMan said,
Wifi works perfectly on mine...
Probably a bad batch of SDIO cards, as a lot of us on the transformer forums have the same problem. Although, are you using the "a/b/g 20/40mhz mode" setting on any driver above .168?

FloatingFatMan said,
Using the default of 11a:20/40;11bg:20 on the Broadcom .187 driver. Never bothered changing any of the settings as they always worked just fine.
You're fine with 65mbit? Tried that once, couldn't play all of my Hi10 content smoothly. Yeah, it cannot display 1080p, but it still has to stream it.

Until I replaced my router 2 weeks ago, 56mbit was all I could get on it (old D-Link DIR-615). Now I'm running a TP-Link WDR4900 and I get 120mbit wireless. 65mbit isn't so bad for the kind of cheap junk "free" modems/routers most ISP's provide, though.

FloatingFatMan said,
Until I replaced my router 2 weeks ago, 56mbit was all I could get on it (old D-Link DIR-615). Now I'm running a TP-Link WDR4900 and I get 120mbit wireless. 65mbit isn't so bad for the kind of cheap junk "free" modems/routers most ISP's provide, though.
Odd. I wouldn't call an RT-N66U cheap or junk, yet it only connects at 65mbit in single channel mode, or 150mbit in dual channel mode.

I'd recommend the Surface 2 over the T100 as well. I've heard mixed reviews between the people that come back to us, typically due to the connectivity between the keyboard and tablet devices and ports. This is actually the same reason I don't really favor HP or Toshiba's detachable keyboard laptops; feels like there's more potential for something to go wrong, in fact we had that HP Split 13" break on us too.

The Surface is simply magnetic in the way it attaches. For what it's worth, I typically favor ASUS as a manufacturer, but I'm not particularly happy with this model. Price efficient it is at least.

My mum's been thinking about getting the T100, its amazing value for the money i think.

The Surface 2 and Nokia Lumia 2520 were pretty strong contenders, both are very nice tablets, however get very pricey when you add they keyboard docks on them and your stuck with only modern apps + office (which i do get would be perfect for some people)

Surface 2 32gb - £360 + £100 for the touch cover, so £460 (Windows RT)
Nokia Lumia 2520 32gb - £400 + £150 for the "power keyboard" so £550 (Windows RT)
Asus Transformer Book T100*- 32gb, includes keyboard and Microsoft Office Home and Student - £349.00 (Windows 8.1)

If you can live without a 1080p screen and a front facing camera, i think the Asus T100 is the perfect tablet. Windows how Microsoft intended on a touch screen, but with the ability to make a good second computer / modern day Netbook when docked to a keyboard.

InsaneNutter said,

If you can live without a 1080p screen and a front facing camera, i think the Asus T100 is the perfect tablet. Windows how Microsoft intended on a touch screen, but with the ability to make a good second computer / modern day Netbook when docked to a keyboard.

T100 has a front facing camera. It's rear camera it doesn't have.

FloatingFatMan said,

T100 has a front facing camera. It's rear camera it doesn't have.

My bad i was supposed to say rear facing camera, it has the important from facing camera your going to use on Skype, i dont think many people are going to go around taking many pictures with the rear camera to be honest anyway. So not having one makes no difference to me personally.

greensabath said,
Rumor is the Surface Mini will run on bay-trail. Supposed to be out by Summer...guess we will see soon enough

Oh my god, if that's true, I hope this doesn't also mean the Mini would run 8.1 as opposed to RT. Otherwise, it's going to be hell explaining how only the Surface (non mini or Pro) has Office included, the difference of how app installation works, and hearing all the smartass remarks they'll say...

I need to change jobs...

To me, the issue is between running FULL Windows 8.1 vs RT. It be weird to have a Superior OS version on the smaller device. I agree w/ the Office issue as well, I mean, that's even a problem I think now. Walking into a store, you're telling me the REG surface comes w/ Office, but the more superior PRO version doesn't? That doesn't make sense.

But, as far as the Surface mini, there have been reports of it running Bay-trail as well as reports of it running Nvidia's Tegra chip. So not sure what they plan on doing.

I think they would be able to clear up a lot of confusion if they would differentiate between RT/8.1 Pro. Maybe have 2 completely separate lines. Surface 10in/8 in PRO versions (Running full Windows) and Surface 10in/8in LITE versions, running RT.

As far as the inclusion of Office, I think if they are going to include it at all, it should be done for ALL Surface versions, not just RT.

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